Chevy Killed a Flat-Plane Crank, Z06 V8-Powered Camaro Z/28
Camaro sales are abysmal, and GM apparently thinks an exotic version just isn’t worth it.
There's a lot to be said for General Motors often failing to get out of its own way. There are exceptions, sure, plenty of exceptions. However, the automaker's decisions often reek of design by committee, pencil-pushing at a biblical scale, and serious strategetic missteps leading to cars like the current Chevrolet Camaro.
The Chevrolet Camaro is easily one of the most underrated cars for sale today, with extremely sharp handling and excellent engines on offer. It might make sense, then, that adding a high-horsepower, Z06 Corvette-powered version would make a good car even better. That's not what's happening though. GM can barely sell the current Camaro and it doesn't want to dump more money into it. That means, at least according to MotorTrend, that there won't be a track-monster Camaro Z/28 on the way. Per the report, the Detroit automaker considered it, made some effort to bring it to life, and then killed it.
Citing an anonymous industry source, MotorTrend's Johnny Lieberman claims Chevy was "all set to build a follow-up" to the car (the previous-gen Z/28), which could mean a variety of things. It could've been in the infant stages of consideration, nearing approval, ready to be tooled up, anything. Details surrounding how far along the car was are very slim.
What is clear is that it was, at least, considered and then, well, un-considered. We have a fair idea of what the car would've been like, though. We don't have official specifics on the new C8 Corvette Z06 yet due to pandemic-related delays, but we have ascertained a vital detail: it's most definitely powered by a flat-plane V8 of around 5.5-liters, similar to the C8.R race car. That was the engine destined to power this new Z/28 and with an exciting twist. Unlike the Corvette, the Z/28 would've been offered with a manual, as GM already has a row-your-own transmission from the Camaro ZL1 that's built to take on just about any level of power.
As to precisely why it didn't happen, well, details from MotorTrend's source are a little vague. The claim is that in styling the Camaro the way it did, Chevy took very careful aim at its foot and pulled the trigger. Bad looks have translated into slow sales, and slow sales mean there's a very difficult case to make for pumping money into the platform. Needless to say, the boardroom discussion was likely a bit more nuanced than that, but we'll likely never know the specifics.
This is apparently as frustrating for Chevy as it is for us, as well. According to DeepBurble, "[Chevy is] like, 'We can't believe it's not selling. It's so much better than the competition.'" This is, on paper, a true claim. The Camaro has a great chassis, a great 6.2-liter engine, a great manual transmission, all of these parts are just bolted into a car that people don't want to buy. It's bad for Chevy, bad for the enthusiast customer, and as we've learned, especially bad for a new Z/28.
When reached out, a Chevy spokesperson had the following to say:
"It’s interesting when we hear what people think we’re working on, but we’re not going to engage in the rumor and speculation. We’ve just resumed production of Camaro and are looking forward to meeting the robust demand."
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